Here we are on the eve of the first free practice session and for me, it feels like the first race of the season. We have had a number of variables thus far that have hampered us from really gauging the field. And what would be a Formula 1 weekend without a little news to build up the show.
The Sakhir circuit is a hot, dry, and a wide open race track. The long straightaways and twisty turns are going to be ideal for the KERS on the few select cars that try and run them with some saying this is the best KERS track on the calendar. It has only been one week since the last race, so the development curve will be a minimal increase at most. It will be interesting to see what teams again have a diffuser 1.5 equipped on the car and if folks like Renault and McLaren have performed any fining tuning on the ones ran in Shanghai. The tight corners previously mentioned at this circuit will really help the diffuser cars get the most performance out of the diffuser and the aero kit in general. Moving into some of the specific team news, we have to start with the prancing horse.
The story that has dominated the week is the third straight race for Ferrari without any points. There is definitely reason to be concerned if you are a Ferrari fan (as am I). There have been position shuffles within the team and technical changes with the removal of the KERS from the car as well as rumor of a new chassis design being built to be ready for the next race. Lucky enough for Ferrari fans this weekend is a track that has been rather friendly to the Scarlet squad. After Massa falling out of last race from P3, the team will be absolutely desperate to put together a good result. Kimi already stated that this weekend is going to be tough because they still lack pace in the F60. He did mention however, that next race Ferrari had a series of performance upgrades that he felt would make them more competitive. The only problem with these new parts for me is the fact that Ferrari cannot test the parts on the car prior to the next round of the championship, so we will have to wait and see whether the car will show any signs of brilliance.
McLaren on the other hand have been working with the diffuser 1.5 and the car is better for it. While McLaren have had their moments in the practice and qualifying sessions, Sakhir will be the first real run for McLaren. As always, the upcoming WMSC meeting will be in the back of their minds. The boys from Woking will be looking to build on the solid result they had in China as they continue to develop the car.
Both Brawn GP and Red Bull Racing have been dominant thus far in terms of speed and results. Both cars are on the same level and this weekend shall prove whether or not the Red Bull has what it takes to run with the Brawn. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will be hoping the drive shaft problems that haunted them in China will be gone so the RBR guys can really take the fight to Brawn without worry of mechanical failure.
All in all the weekend promises to be fun and exciting for the first true race of the year. Keep it at Open Paddock to discuss all the news this weekend and feel free to comment on all of the happenings that will be the Gulf Air Grand Prix of Bahrain.